Federal appeals court finds ICE hold was not mandatory in Allentown case

Crowds of immigrants protest in favor of comprehensive immigration reform on West side of Capitol Hill in Washington

Credit: Reuters

In an example of a policy that will be examined at a City Council hearing next week, a hold under the authority of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was found to be improper in a federal appeals court ruling released today.

Ernesto Galarza, a US citizen residing in Allentown, was detained in Lehigh County prison back in 2008 after the contractor at a construction site where he worked sold cocaine to an undercover detective, and police arrested the contractor, Galarza and two other workers at the site.

Despite having his Social Security card and driver’s license, Galarza was detained for three days in prison as part of a routine ICE hold to determine whether he was in violation of federal immigration laws.

Lawyers from the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union argued that ICE was only notified about Galarza due to his Hispanic name.

But at trial in Allentown, municipal attorneys argued that once ICE was identified, mistake or no, the city had no choice but to detain Galarza, as they considered ICE detainer orders mandatory.

Instead, a three-judge federal appeals court ruled that ICE detainer requests are not mandatory.

“Immigration detainers do not and cannot compel a state or local law enforcement agency to detain suspected aliens subject to removal,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit wrote.

After Galarza’s bail was posted hours after he was arrested, he was told he could not leave due to the immigration detainer.

Three days later, after speaking with two ICE officers and giving them his Social Security number, Galarza was released from the jail.

Galarza was acquitted of criminal charges related to his arrest in 2010.

ICE holds take place when local police notify immigrations enforcement that they have encountered someone who may be an immigrant subject to deportation, and hold that person until they can be transferred to ICE custody.

“We think there are pretty significant constitutional problems with local law enforcement lending this kind of assistance to ICE,” said attorney Molly Tack-Hooper.

The decision might have implications for Philadelphia, as both cities are within the Third Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Allentown, like Philadelphia, participates in a partnership with ICE whereby they share information about such individuals. But the Court of Appeals decision means that since such holds are not required, a city can be held liable for damages if an individual is detained in error.

“The taxpayers would have to pay for that mistake,” Tack-Hooper said.

____________________

Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…